Best path to upgrade turntable set-up? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-27-2013, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Right now I have the equipment listed below. What is the thing to upgrade to get better sound short of buying a new table or receiver? Would I get more bang with a better phono preamp or a nice cartridge?


Receiver: Yamaha RX-V467
Turntable: pro-ject Debut III
Phono Pre-amp: Bellari VP29
Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red
Speakers: DIY ER18DXT (love them)
Subwoofer: Rythmik FV15HP

And one more question. How often should you replace your stylus? And what is a good way to clean it so that it is working at max performance?

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #2 of 14 Old 01-28-2013, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Jesus, no reply huh? I figure someone would know what the best upgrade to a turntable set-up is...Cartridge or phono preamp?

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #3 of 14 Old 01-28-2013, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

Jesus, no reply huh? I figure someone would know what the best upgrade to a turntable set-up is...Cartridge or phono preamp?

Trouble is that vinyl is a pretty much technically limited format, and it is possible that you are already getting the most out if with the cartridge and preamp that you have.

I looked up the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and it has a lot of good press. The Bellari tube preamp is of course flawed by the fact that it has a tube in it, but that's not a serious problem, either.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-28-2013, 09:05 PM
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I would go for a Pro-Ject Speed Box II for my first upgrade. An accurate speed is essential for a better sound. You'll find a nice difference between the Speed box and the standard motor that is provided in the Debut III. The best way to improve a TT is start w/ the TT then the Tonearm followed by the cart and finally the phono.smile.gif
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-29-2013, 03:38 AM
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Not to offend, but I think the best way to upgrade your TT setup would be to ebay the belt-driven Pro-ject and go hunting (craig's list perhaps) for a used direct-drive Technics SL1200mk2. ..While the Improvements coming from an upgraded pre-amp and/or cartridge are apt to be very very small - bordering on inaudible, changing to a direct-drive TT may yield immediately audible improvement, particularly if you listen to piano music.

Whereas inexpensive belt-driven turntables struggle to maintain steady pitch, the Technics is rock-steady. ..For me, this became immediately apparent when I listen to Bill Evans's "Waltz For Debbie" (jazz), or George Winston's "December" (new age artist); both of these albums feature a great many lone, sustained piano key strokes set against a quiet background w/ no other instruments. On every belt-driven TT I've owned or listened to, the pitch of the piano notes fluctuate audibly. ..Not so w/ the DD Technics, they sound as steady as a CD. In addition to superior Wow & Flutter specs, the Technics also has very low rumble numbers making it noticeably quieter than a Pro-Ject.

Though the SL1200mk2 went out of production in 2010 I was able to find a new-in-box SL1200mk2 last year (a few retailers still have a few left) but paid quite heavily for it ($1200). ..You should be able to find one in good shape on Craig's list for $300-$400. The Ortofon Red works quite nicely; I have one myself.

If you're curious to hear how steady and quiet a DD table can sound, take a listen to the first 30 seconds from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" included below. ..No piano, but Vega sings against a quiet background. Best to use good headphones or listen through your sound system, rather than your computer speakers.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vr8hjqmq6xsqwz8/TomsDinerWITHKAB.wav
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-02-2013, 08:45 AM
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IMO the cartridge and turntable you have are very good. IMO any decent belt-drive table is far superior to direct-drive units, which is why direct-drive has been completely abandoned by all manufacturers at all price levels. Direct-drive is an inferior obsolete technology.

My first recommendation would be to get a Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp.

That will be a big improvement over the one you have.

The second recommendation would be a Harmon-Kardon 3490 receiver, which IMO would be a REALLY BIG sonic improvement compared to what you have now. (or a 3650 if you want a 5.1 model).


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Jesus, no reply huh? I figure someone would know what the best upgrade to a turntable set-up is...Cartridge or phono preamp?
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-02-2013, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Not to offend, but I think the best way to upgrade your TT setup would be to ebay the belt-driven Pro-ject and go hunting (craig's list perhaps) for a used direct-drive Technics SL1200mk2. ..While the Improvements coming from an upgraded pre-amp and/or cartridge are apt to be very very small - bordering on inaudible, changing to a direct-drive TT may yield immediately audible improvement, particularly if you listen to piano music.

Whereas inexpensive belt-driven turntables struggle to maintain steady pitch, the Technics is rock-steady. ..For me, this became immediately apparent when I listen to Bill Evans's "Waltz For Debbie" (jazz), or George Winston's "December" (new age artist); both of these albums feature a great many lone, sustained piano key strokes set against a quiet background w/ no other instruments. On every belt-driven TT I've owned or listened to, the pitch of the piano notes fluctuate audibly. ..Not so w/ the DD Technics, they sound as steady as a CD. In addition to superior Wow & Flutter specs, the Technics also has very low rumble numbers making it noticeably quieter than a Pro-Ject.

Though the SL1200mk2 went out of production in 2010 I was able to find a new-in-box SL1200mk2 last year (a few retailers still have a few left) but paid quite heavily for it ($1200). ..You should be able to find one in good shape on Craig's list for $300-$400. The Ortofon Red works quite nicely; I have one myself.

If you're curious to hear how steady and quiet a DD table can sound, take a listen to the first 30 seconds from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" included below. ..No piano, but Vega sings against a quiet background. Best to use good headphones or listen through your sound system, rather than your computer speakers.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vr8hjqmq6xsqwz8/TomsDinerWITHKAB.wav

My set-up sounds good and I am happy with it. I was trying to figure out if upgrading the cart or preamp will make a bigger difference. No need for me to get a new turntable. Works just fine and it a good entry level set-up.

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-02-2013, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Trouble is that vinyl is a pretty much technically limited format, and it is possible that you are already getting the most out if with the cartridge and preamp that you have.

I looked up the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and it has a lot of good press. The Bellari tube preamp is of course flawed by the fact that it has a tube in it, but that's not a serious problem, either.

My preamp doesn't have the tube. thanks.

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #9 of 14 Old 02-02-2013, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

IMO the cartridge and turntable you have are very good. IMO any decent belt-drive table is far superior to direct-drive units, which is why direct-drive has been completely abandoned by all manufacturers at all price levels. Direct-drive is an inferior obsolete technology.

My first recommendation would be to get a Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp.

That will be a big improvement over the one you have.

The second recommendation would be a Harmon-Kardon 3490 receiver, which IMO would be a REALLY BIG sonic improvement compared to what you have now. (or a 3650 if you want a 5.1 model).

Thanks, that's kind of what I thought. I did a lot of research when I was putting this together and no one told me to buy direct drive. I am very happy with what I have and it sounds better than other people I know who have $100 tt and using the preamp in their vintage receivers. I just don't have enough experience to know what upgrades make the biggest difference. Like i stated in my original post....upgrade that DO NOT include changing tables. Wish people could answer questions directly. Thanks for your input.

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-03-2013, 02:38 AM
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BC11, best place to ask for TT advice is Vinyl Engine where the forum users have lots of experience. For example someone will know of other stylii you might be able to use of what would be a good upgrade for your current cart. I am not familiar with it myself.
I'd be very dubious about the MF headamp being much of an improvement over what you have, and would only suggest trying it if you can get a no hassle return. It's one of the items CSM shills regularly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

IIMO any decent belt-drive table is far superior to direct-drive units,
Audiophile myth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

which is why direct-drive has been completely abandoned by all manufacturers at all price levels.
More rubbish. TT sales are restricted basically to two types of people, LP users and DJs, and as the market for DJ TTs is declining and the sales of audiophile TTs is limited. Panasonic saw this and decided to stop production of the SL1200 because it was starting to get difficult to source parts.

DD TTs are much more expensive to build because of the motor and feedback systems which are too complex and costly for smaller manufacturers to make. Easier to buy a small Airpax or similar synchronous motor and a belt to attempt to isolate motor vibrations from the platter than properly engineer a good DD system. Andy Payor, whom I cansider to be a talented engineer, looked at all the possible ways to drive a TT motor and decided to go DD for his (then) $100k Sirius because it gave the best results, even though there would be some difficulties in getting his target market to look at it because of the enduring myth of BD TTs being better.

As for all manufacturers abandoning DD, GPA's Monaco and Brinkmann's Bardo are both DD and of recent design and introduction. Expensive though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Direct-drive is an inferior obsolete technology.
Engineered correctly DD is far superior to belt drive for a number of reasons. Speed stability is one with sensing taking place many times per revolution and corrective feedback able to be applied. You cant do this with a BD with a poorly damped spring in the middle of the drive system.
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-03-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

BC11, best place to ask for TT advice is Vinyl Engine where the forum users have lots of experience. For example someone will know of other stylii you might be able to use of what would be a good upgrade for your current cart. I am not familiar with it myself.
I'd be very dubious about the MF headamp being much of an improvement over what you have, and would only suggest trying it if you can get a no hassle return. It's one of the items CSM shills regularly.
Audiophile myth.

More rubbish. TT sales are restricted basically to two types of people, LP users and DJs, and as the market for DJ TTs is declining and the sales of audiophile TTs is limited. Panasonic saw this and decided to stop production of the SL1200 because it was starting to get difficult to source parts.

DD TTs are much more expensive to build because of the motor and feedback systems which are too complex and costly for smaller manufacturers to make. Easier to buy a small Airpax or similar synchronous motor and a belt to attempt to isolate motor vibrations from the platter than properly engineer a good DD system. Andy Payor, whom I cansider to be a talented engineer, looked at all the possible ways to drive a TT motor and decided to go DD for his (then) $100k Sirius because it gave the best results, even though there would be some difficulties in getting his target market to look at it because of the enduring myth of BD TTs being better.

As for all manufacturers abandoning DD, GPA's Monaco and Brinkmann's Bardo are both DD and of recent design and introduction. Expensive though.


Engineered correctly DD is far superior to belt drive for a number of reasons. Speed stability is one with sensing taking place many times per revolution and corrective feedback able to be applied. You cant do this with a BD with a poorly damped spring in the middle of the drive system.


Thanks for the feedback man. I appreciate someone that can answer a question directly and not stray off and give advice outside of what the person is asking for. Much appreciated. I will check out the site you mentioned.

Panasonic P60ST50-Yamaha RX-V467 receiver-Sony PS3-Velodyne SMS-1-Canton 430 mains, 455 center and 402 surrounds-Rythmik FV15HP subwoofer- Pro-ject Debut III turntable- I also have a pair of Mark K's DIY design, the ER18DXT's
.
My humble entertainment room

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post #12 of 14 Old 02-03-2013, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

Thanks for the feedback man. I appreciate someone that can answer a question directly and not stray off and give advice outside of what the person is asking for. Much appreciated. I will check out the site you mentioned.
Best of luck with the TT. The very best advice that I can offer to a relative newcomer to the world of vinyl is learn how to set it up the best possible degree. Even simple stuff like alignment, tracking weight, antiskate and if you can adjust it, VTA can make a surprisingly large difference to the sound. This sort of stuff is less well known now with many newbs than in Jurassic times when vinyl ruled the earth. VE is a great source of info on set up too.

Get a good carbon brush and use it every time you put the LP on/off the platter and remember to turn the inner sleeve of the LP 90* up when you put it back in the sleeve to minimise dust ingress.

If you're interested later, I can tell you how to make a very good record cleaner with an old broken TT, a wet vac and a record clamp for little money.
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-12-2013, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

Right now I have the equipment listed below. What is the thing to upgrade to get better sound short of buying a new table or receiver? Would I get more bang with a better phono preamp or a nice cartridge?

Back when I had a suspension-less turntable (Rega) similar to your Pro-Ject I purchased a VPI suspension base. I think it cost around $70 a couple decades ago. But it was certainly one of the best sonic improvement for the dollar that I ever did.
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-13-2013, 04:25 AM
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I agree with the recommendation to start off with the Speedbox. The cartridge is probably a little better than the phono pre, so I would start with getting a nice, used, phono stage. After that, the cartridge will be limiting factor. But, be careful not to upgrade too much... the Yamaha receiver is decent, but not exactly high end...

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